Monday, 1 December 2014

Baby pants and knickers

I've now made a number of matching knickers or pants for baby dresses. I've used two different free-on-the-internet patterns:

  • Dana's pattern for the Perfect Diaper Cover - that's a nappy cover, for people outside North America, but it's basically a nice pair of knickers big enough to hide a nappy.
  • Baby bloomers from Lazy Seamstress
Both of these  are good, for different reasons. The one I have used most is Dana's pattern for a Perfect Diaper Cover, which gives a free tutorial, and comes in 4 different sizes. Thank you so much to Dana. If you plan to use her pattern and tutorial, it's well worth while to read some of the comments. Like some other people, I found the sizes a little bit small (measure the baby!) so I drew and cut in between the size lines. You could also make the waistband a bit higher if you wanted to cover all of the nappy. Dana points out that sewing round the leg holes is a bit fiddly, it is easier if you make the version with bias tape. But persevere, it works with a bit of fiddling! (Since I wrote this she has updated the pattern to try and remove this problem.)

My first two pairs were made from Dana's pattern and tutorial, in two different sizes, from my pink valance sheet. (For the dress I made from the valance sheet, see this page.) These were made without binding.

These are between the first and second size, and between the second and third size. As you can see, I made my life more complicated by adding frills to the back. (But don't they look cute?)  I made these, not by adding ruffles afterwards, but before I did my cutting out. In other words, I sewed lines of little pleats into the material before I put the pattern for the back of the pants on it. Then I did the cutting out of the back, cut out the front from non-pleated material, and stitched together as normal. The only problem was that on the smaller (top) pair, you can see that the bottom line of frills was dangerously close to the leg holes, making turning up the legs even more fiddly.

These spotty ones below again use Dana's pattern. I think these were in the second smallest size. (Or maybe between the first and second size.)

Unfortunately I don't have good pictures of the dress they matched, and the dress is now no more. Ah well, might need to make another one for the next baby! The stripey binding is home-made bias binding made from the material of the dress. I don't have any fancy gadgets for doing home-made bias binding, but the total length I needed was not a lot, so I just cut my diagonal strips of the material, pinned them at right angles, sewed diagonally across, and cut off the surplus points. I think it works really well. The matching dress was made from the Ice Cream Social Dress pattern (well, it's not a pattern, but simple instructions) from Craftinessisnotoptional.

Here's another couple of pairs made from Dana's pattern:


These both matched peasant dresses (probably I'll put this on a later post). The little knickers with lions and giraffes had no edge binding, the blue ones used commercially bought double fold bias binding tape round the legs. (I haven't ever bothered with tape round the waist, as the waist is straight round and easy to do and thread the elastic.) For the blue pair, I was very short of material, it was a last minute idea, so the front had to be made from two separate pieces and seamed, rather than cut on a fold. But to be honest, you don't seem much of the front under the dress!

Now here's a pair made from the other pattern, from Lazy Seamstress.

When I started using it, I preferred this pattern, as I thought they looked like nice little shorts, and that the leg holes would be less fiddly as they are more straight across. Both of those are partly true. However, if you look at the width of the crutch compared with the other pants, you can see they are very narrow. And in fact, they didn't nearly cover the nappy in that area. So you get a big expanse of nappy at each side. Not so pretty! Also, as you can probably see, I found them a bit skimpy, so didn't have much scope for putting in tighter elastic to hold them up - they were already pretty fitted.

I will use the pattern again, but I will use it to make shorts, and extend the length of the legs quite a bit. Eventually, I will blog about how I got on.

The reason both of these patterns are superior to virtually all the others I've found, is that they both recognise that babies are NOT THE SAME SHAPE AT THE FRONT AS THE BACK! And because they tend to spend most of their time with their knees up in the air (or bent at right angles forward from their backs) you do need a much longer measurement at the back than the front. This is also true of trousers - there are numerous patterns for trousers which are symmetrical front to back, so are pretty shapeless. I'll blog about trousers another day.

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